By reducing the ex-depot price of petrol without announcing a new price band for the commodity at filling stations, the Federal Government through its agencies is trying to set marketers against the buying public, oil dealers have said.
Last week, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation announced a reduction in the ex-depot price of petrol from N113.28k per litre to N108 per litre, without saying anything about the pump price at filling stations.
The NNPC is not the agency responsible for petroleum products pricing, although it has remained the major importer of petrol into Nigeria.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency is the organisation responsible for products pricing but it has remained silent on the cost of petrol even after the NNPC reduced the commodity’s ex-depot price.
The PPPRA had earlier promised to be carrying out a monthly price review for the PMS but has failed to do so since the beginning of May.
When contacted on Tuesday on why marketers had yet to reduce the cost of petrol from N125 per litre despite the reduced ex-depot price of N108 per litre, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told our correspondent that it was not the fault of marketers.
He said, “When a government organisation reduces the ex-depot price and you are not telling the buying public the approved band for the pump price at filling stations, you are trying to put us the retail outlet owners against the Nigerian public.
“The Nigerian public will now be saying that why are we still selling at N123.5 and N125 per litre when the ex-depot price has been reduced?”
He added, “Since there is no selling band to show the approved lower and higher rates, it could mean that the NNPC, based on its recently announced N108 per litre price, is now leaving the band in the hands of marketers. But it is not our call to determine the band.”
Gillis-Harry, however, noted that many retail outlets still had some old stock and would have to dispense the products completely before adopting a new petrol pump price, if any.
“Don’t forget that the N108 is not automatic, it was N113 before and all the stock purchased at that rate has not been exhausted. So these are some for the things that need to be cleared,” he stated.
On whether oil marketers had met with the PPPRA on these concerns, the PETROAN president replied, “Yes we are engaging with them because we don’t want our members to fall short of the law.
“They gave us an ex-depot price of N108 per litre but there is no corresponding price band. I spoke to the executive secretary of the PPPRA yesterday and up till now, there is no other development than what I’ve told you.”